Election 2016: Planning Board Candidate Stephen Deackoff Releases Candidate Statement
Mar 25, 2016 11:11AM
By Bill Gilman
Candidate Statement From Stephen Deackoff
I am a candidate for the Planning Board. Originally from Watertown Mass, I moved to Tewksbury 18 years ago when I married my wife, Gail Mackey, a life-long Tewksbury resident. We are raising 2 children, a son and a daughter. Shortly afterwards, I became active in local politics when a large apartment building complex was proposed in my neighborhood. I never knew that something so out of character for our neighborhood could possibly be permitted.
Since then, I have been a member of various town committees including the Conservation Commission, the Local Housing Partnership, the Community Preservation Committee, and the Economic Development Committee. This wide range of experience has given a me unique and valuable insight into what makes Tewksbury a great place to live.
As a member of these different committees, I have always strived to be open and transparent in everything that we did. I also believed in the importance of balancing economic growth and preserving that small town feeling that we all cherish. While on the Conservation Commission, I have always been a strong advocate of protecting our natural resources. But this is tempered by the reality of economic development. I am proud of the Local Wetland Protection Bylaw that the Conservation Commission has crafted over the years of my membership. It protects our resources and allows smart economic development to occur.
As the Chairman of the Local Housing Partnership, another accomplishment I am proud of is the Villa at Meadow View. This senior housing project on Livingston Street was a the result of a lot of hard work of many individuals. And the cooperation of many committees, including the Board of Selectmen, the Housing Authority, the Planning Board, and Elder Services of Merrimac Valley. The project was kick-started with money from Tewksbury’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
The Master Plan and Zoning Bylaws are undergoing major revisions and my experience with the Wetlands Protection Bylaw will be beneficial. Currently, there is a pressure to rezone commercial, industrial, office space, and open space to large scale residential apartment buildings. The need for housing in Eastern Massachusetts is creating high demand. However, I want to ensure that any burden created on the town of Tewksbury is properly mitigated.
One such mitigation is contributions to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund that I mentioned before. The Local Housing Partnership has identified a few projects that are worthwhile. One such project is working with an organization like Soldier On to create Veterans Housing with supportive services.
I believe that we can achieve this goal and many more if I am elected to the Tewksbury Planning Board.